China envoys turning to foreign social media to air views

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying (right) on the campus of the Central Party School during a government-organised tour for foreign journalists in Beijing last month. She has urged officials to make use of foreign social media platforms
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying (right) on the campus of the Central Party School during a government-organised tour for foreign journalists in Beijing last month. She has urged officials to make use of foreign social media platforms to express China's position on global issues.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Move viewed as effort by Beijing to engage world more aggressively on such platforms

Chinese officials are not known to air their views publicly on social media, so when diplomat Zhao Lijian launched a "tweetstorm" this week on social and political issues in the United States, China watchers took notice.

Mr Zhao, the second-ranking Chinese diplomat in Pakistan, was defending China's treatment of Uighurs when he criticised the US, pointing to what he called "racial segregation" in the country.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2019, with the headline 'China envoys turning to foreign social media to air views'. Print Edition | Subscribe